Trying to get into 9th Ed 40K: Step 2 – Building a list from the Codex!

Huzzah!  Codex arrived!  Reasonable numbers of painted Sisters of Battle in Metal – large numbers of unpainted plastics and characters to add in.  Its all looking good!

Read through the fluff, and continued to get more and more excited!  Sisters of battle aren’t being described as tiny numbers any more.  They are the arm of the Ecclesiarchy!  While still functioning with 2 main planetary HQs, they have outposts and smaller abbeys all over the galaxy.  While not rivalling the size of the Imperial Guard, we’re probably looking at about on par with the size of the Tempestus Scions.  Brilliant!  Taking the ladies seriously!

Lovely pictures of models old and new.  Lots of exciting hobby possibilities.  Its all grand!

And then …. I hit the rules.   And the hobby enthusiasm crawls away to die.

No example army lists.  Densely packed pages of rules that massively interact with each other, and none but the most trivial examples.  Bam.  Mind totally blown and unable to put any of it together.

My Sisters are painted as the Order of Our Martyred Lady (or the ones I’ve chosen to use – I do have sisters in green as an Order Minoris and an Order of the Argent Shroud force too!), so that takes care of that choice.  But then we have pages of Stratagems, Blessings of the Faithful, Warlord Traits, Hymns of Battle, Relics, Chapter Approved Rules (skipping past the crusade rules as I’m looking for a few one off games), Acts of Faith, Sacred Rites and then individual data slates with the points tucked at the back of the book, so just a very loose power level rating to get a feel for what you can probably pick.

Honestly – trying to to build an actual list without BattleScribe or the GW 40K list builder is feeling like an absurd challenge.  And trying to get a feel for what any of these rules actually means or how it ties together or what you might actually pick when you haven’t played 9th ed yet?  Its feeling beyond me.

I think its on to step 3.  Giving up on the codex for now, and reading up on the army on the Internet to get enough context to be able to understand the rules enough to actually build a list with the help of a list builder tool.

This is 9th edition.  It’s also the 9th edition of the game that I’ve actually played.  And I am still very much struggling getting my head around it.  It must be a total bloody nightmare for a new player to engage with this.

Trying to get into 9th Ed 40k: Step 1 – Picking an Army

Well, after a turbulent couple of hobby years, I’m trying to work out how the hell I actually play 9th ed!  Between very few games of 8th before lockdown, 9th edition not played to date, earlier editions still floating around in my head, and little opportunity for games, it’s important to get my head around the game, the army and sort something out before I spend precious hobby time playing!  If I don’t get it at all, the game will be a waste of time for me, and for my opponents.

I have a lot of armies from over the years, so I thought “Why not ask the Twitterverse what’s a simple army to get started with?”  The response was basically “It’s all complicated now.  Do you what you like.”

Honest, but not particularly helpful!  I started again, and decided that my criteria would be:

  • An army I already have
  • An army that has a 9th edition codex, so I’m not changing midway through learning and spending more on codexes.
  • An army I like
  • An army  where the rules come in a single book (to minimise complexity and because I’m cheap.

So, first, an army I have!  My Imperial Knights languish unbuilt.  My Drukhari still need painting.  My Orks are partially painted, but nowhere near 2000pts worth!  My Admech and Genestealer Cult are mostly unbuilt and low numbers.  Same for Tyranids – built but few painted.  I’ve never picked up any Custodes, and just have one unit of Sisters of Silence.  My Death Guard from 8th ed are still all unpainted!  My bro collects Thousand Sons, so I’ve stayed clear of those.  I have some Rogue Trader Harlequins, but I’d need to fill out the army significantly.  Fallen (Dark) Angels?  Unfinished!  Chaos Marines?  Unfinished!

Next, an new codex!  It ruled out Imperial Guard, an old favourite of mine and my main 8th edition army, as they are yet to see a codex update.  Eldar have similarly yet to be updated.  T’au are still waiting for an update too.  Grey Knights are on the verge of dropping, but haven’t arrived.

An army I like!  I toyed with Necrons, but my army is basically the 3rd ed Codex choices, and I’ve never been 100% taken by the new (to me) Tomb Kings in Space vibe.  

Only one book?  Space Marines sadly really need the supplements, and with the Codex Supplements needed, that’s more books and complexity.  Not for now!  So that’s my Ultramarines, Imperial Fists and Crimson Fists out for now.

So with my recent painting and love of a recent revamp, I settled on the Adepta Sororitas …. the Sisters of Battle, and put the order in for the Codex.

Now I only managed one 8th ed game with Sisters of Battle with their previous codex.  It didn’t seem too bad, though I wasn’t terribly impressed with how they played.  More rapid movement across the board made it much harder to apply the short range pressure they excelled at in earlier editions, and they got totally torn up by stronger armies in close combat, and the lack of cover in 8th crucified units like Repentia.  Still, I love the insanity, so onto step 2!  Working out an army list from the models I have or could assemble, and reading through the new codex after it arrived!

My Thoughts On Playing 8th Edition Warhammer 40k

When the 8th edition launched, there was a lot of focus on the simpler rules, and the indexes put everyone on a level playing field.  Since then, however, the game has become much more complex, with the special rules introduced with new rules found in codexes, FAQs, Chapter Approved, and White Dwarf.  The various additional bonuses, psychic powers, army faction bonuses and stratagems all stack across different units, and it can be very difficult to actually work out what you actually need to do when playing a game.

I’m not a competitive player at all, but I do like to feel I’m at least playing the game right, so I wanted to put a sort of general crib sheet together so I cover the basics properly.  This certainly won’t work for everyone, and is aimed at friendly games, not tournament play.

Building a List

Pick the units you like, point them up, get onto the battlefield!  Huzzah!

That’s actually the core of how I put a list together, to be fair.  Sadly, though, you do need to think ahead a bit more on how the troops will work together on the battlefield, especially in the modern game.  A good example was the time I fielded my Imperial Guard army without a single officer to issue commands – and probably halved the effectiveness of the force at a stroke.  If you can’t issue orders to troops, Guard armies don’t work very well!

Every army (and faction within it), tends to have certain rules, bonuses and stratagems that augment certain troop types.  Picking an army without at least partially syncing up those augmentations seems to be punished brutally in the modern game – its no longer a slight edge, but the basis of standard lists, even for friendly games.

Have a think about what stratagems you actually remember to use.  If you are terrible at remembering to spend command points, look at ways of spending them pregame as part of your list – getting extra relics out onto characters, making units veterans, or merging units depending on your army.  That way you get the value of the command points without forgetting what you can do.  If there are stratagems that seem fun, pick units that work with it.  Build detachments partially on the units you like and how you want to play, but also to take command point generation more or less in mind.  Sometimes taking the same forces in a different formal detachment makes a big difference to the numbers of CP you get.

It basically boils down to one of the areas I’m weakest at – know the rules for your army as well as you can.

For me, I don’t like to carried away working how to exploit the rules to be filthy.  Working out ways of putting abilities and stratagems to pull something off that feels like its straight from a novel though?  Awesome.

Once you have a list put together, do you best to make sure the list is clear, accessible and easy to work with during the game.  A quick note of page numbers for more complex stuff can be invaluable, both for reference, and also to help make sure you have all the books you actually need.

Pregame

My cardinal rule here is just remember you are both here to have fun, and you’ll enjoy the game more if your opponent is having a cracking time too.  Don’t try to hide “gotcha” moments – run through your list with your opponent, explain any use of command points in building the list, and say how many you’ll be starting the game with.

Explain anything with optional rules – things like your faction special rules (like Guard Regiment bonuses, or Marine Chapter rules), agree whether to choose psychic powers or both pull them randomly.  Really make sure that anything not clearly WYSIWYG is explained to your opponent.

It leads to a much more enjoyable game for everyone than suddenly finding out that you aren’t fighting Ultramarine successors but Imperial Fists who are getting a completely different set of bonuses, or that a big beastie actually has a load of ranged weapons that aren’t on the model as you pour out of cover out of charge range.

Unless its a very regular opponent, I think a quick conversation about the style of game helps.  Are you being kind and allowing take backs or use of stratagems a little out of turn if they were forgotten?  Or are you sticking rigorously to the order of play?  Generally people are easy with either option, but its incredibly frustrating to allow your opponent to redo something, only to be told you can’t do the same.  It tends to come up more in multiplayer games – making sure everyone is on the same page really helps.

Setup and Turn 0

Its very easy to forget that your army isn’t just a generic force, but one that has specific requirements.  A small elite force generally wants to set up very differently to a big guard regiment.  Think through the games you’ve done well at, and think about the deployment options if you dice up for missions.  If I have a guard regiment fighting knights, I want to engage them at range.  Picking deployments that box in the hordes of troops, don’t leave me space to manoeuvre the tanks and block avenues of fire is going to cripple me – which is exactly what the knight general will do to you if he wins the deployment rolls.  If you haven’t even though about this and pick standard options, you can really hurt your own chances.  Make sure you have an idea for how you want to use reserves, and what you want to deploy, as that’ll affect these options too.

Turn 0, I hear you ask?  Well, there are increasing numbers of stratagems and special rules that happen after setup, but before turn 1 begins.  Have a crib sheet reminding you to use any of those special stratagems, as you won’t get a second chance!  And if you miss them and start the game frustrated?  You’ll enjoy it less and already be on the back foot.

Let the Games Begin

We’re now into the games proper!  There are several things I thoroughly recommend.

Make sure you have clear and obvious ways of tracking things like command points.  Dice or a tracking dial that you and your opponent can see helps.  Same for wound markers on minis – it really helps everyone keep track of the game.

Try to have a crib sheet of stratagems and powers, so you don’t forget what you could be doing each turn.  It also helps to note down ways of stacking them and ways not to use them.  If you have a captain letting you reroll 1s to hit, and a lieutenant giving you rerolls of 1 to wound, using a psychic power on the same unit to help them hit is probably redundant.  Break the notes down to when you can use each ability during a turn – don’t miss out on healing with your apothecary because you forget to use it at the end of the movement phase.

Most of all, you want to have fun.  Don’t try to “gotcha” the opponent with a surprise ability or an arsey interpretation of the rules as written.  Beat them with tactics, placement, planning your shooting and close combat, sure.  Pulling a “lol – I can actually setup here as its 9″ away straight up” just irritates.

If the game is a one sided slaughter, do you play to the end?  Well, there’s always a chance to turn it around, and if you can do so with grace, I highly recommend it.  If it just feels miserable, though, offer to call it.  If you aren’t enjoying the game at all, dragging it out can be awkward for everyone.   If you aren’t enjoying it, why play?  I quite enjoy the heroic last stand, myself, and if I’ve simply been outplayed or made mistakes I’ll regroup and fight to the end.  That’s not for everyone, and if you’re feeling you’re being beaten by rules rather than the player, it can feel terrible.

Also, take photos and post them up for people like me on twitter to see for vicarious gaming fun 😉

Finishing the Game

I love having a quick chat at the end of the game, make sure my opponent had fun too, and finding out what they liked, what they didn’t like, and so on.  If the game has swung into a thrashing, a quick chat at the end can help establish why, and perk up everyones mood.  Talk about the models that did well – I find allocating an MVP award to the best model or unit on both sides is interesting, as your perception and your opponents can differ radically.  It gives some real insight and really helps people improve their games.

Summary

If you’ve taken anything away from this, I hope its that we should be working out how to play a good fun game, not how to hammer your opponent by abusing the rules.  Knowing the rules, or having reminders, so you aren’t holding the game up and frustrating yourself helps the game flow better and be a more enjoyable experience.  Try to make sure you both have a fun game, and try to identify which bits were the most fun and what wasn’t as enjoyable for both of you.  Done right, every game of 40k against a regular opponent should be more and more entertaining for everyone.

#ParentPlayers 6!!!

What is Parent Players?

Parent Players is a semi-regular meet-up with a group of wargamers who all have children and don’t often get to game. We plan the events months in advance so we can arrange childcare and make sure it’s in family diaries, and hope no emergencies, illness or accidents intervene!

As we’re all parents, we all are in the same boat, and it’s nice to play some really relaxed games and have a few beers with people who enjoy your hobby, understand the pressures you’re under, and are pretty relaxed about the fact you haven’t played a game in months and keep remembering the rules from 2 editions ago.

Most of the focus is on GW games, predominantly 40K. We meet up in Warhammer World in Nottingham on a Friday, play big games all day, retire to a nearby hotel where we get a few more beers in and play games like Fluxx, Coup, or Munchkin in the bar. The Saturday tends to be smaller games in Bugmans as it can be hard to get tables if an event is on, and some of us may be a little worse for wear…. (Just to be clear, beers are optional and several of the regulars are teetotal. Playing silly games is the important bit!)

Tables are harder to arrange since the events team stopped taking bookings, so it’s particularly hard to guarantee availability on the Saturday.  Several of us live close enough to be able to pretty much guarantee a decent spread of tables on the Friday at opening time.   It looks like there’s a Blood Bowl event on the Saturday. We’ve have J’Mgan Bridge – the largest table they have – for a big game on the friday, and their standard tables are easy to grab that day.  On the Saturday we have 3 standard tables reserved, even with the tournament on, and I suspect a fair chunk of fun games will be happening in Bugmans too!

When is the next Parent Players?

The sixth Parent Players is on Friday 6 and Saturday 7th September 2019

What do you need?

Well, to play, you’ll need the latest rules and a force for the game. We’re definitely expecting Warhammer 40K, Blackstone Fortress (with TheFirstAutarch’s gorgeous set) Bloodbowl and Shadespire to be on the agenda – if you don’t have a force for any game you’d like to play, it’s not too hard to arrange to borrow one from one of the other people attending, but you need to arrange it in advance to ensure it’s there on the day. For 40K, we tend to play fairly fluffy 1750pts lists (but bring along 1000pts and 2000pts variants for some multiplayer shenanigans ).  If you can’t field a 40k army but want to try, a lot of us have been in the hobby for some time and can probably bring a spare … though it isn’t necessarily going to full of the latest models. Bloodbowl tends to be standard starter teams of 1,000,000 crowns, and Shadespire is generally standard gang starter decks.

You’ll also need transport to Warhammer World, and somewhere to stay. We generally stay in the Holiday Inn near Warhammer World and several people have already booked rooms. Its certainly not compulsory to stay in the hotel if you want to arrange somewhere else, but we do have some cracking games.

It’s a pretty laid back event – some of us make up our own t-shirts to match our armies with our names and twitter handles, but again, that’s really not necessary.

How do I stay in touch?

We all can be found on twitter. I’m evilkipper and seem to be co-ordinating it at the moment, but the whole thing was the devious concept of thefirstautarch. Other regular attendees include oneoflots, avarrisxbox, grimdarkness40, bigbadbirch and alphadevilinak as well as horde of possible attendees who haven’t been able to escape the kids!

Say hi to any of us, and we’ll keep you in the loop on twitter with all the updates.

#ParentPlayers5

What is Parent Players?

Parent Players is a semi-regular meet-up with a group of wargamers who all have children and don’t often get to game. We plan the events months in advance so we can arrange childcare and make sure it’s in family diaries, and hope no emergencies, illness or accidents intervene!

As we’re all parents, we all are in the same boat, and it’s nice to play some really relaxed games and have a few beers with people who enjoy your hobby, understand the pressures you’re under, and are pretty relaxed about the fact you haven’t played a game in months and keep remembering the rules from 2 editions ago.

Most of the focus is on GW games, predominantly 40K. We meet up in Warhammer World in Nottingham on a Friday, play big games all day, retire to a nearby hotel where we get a few more beers in and play games like Fluxx in the bar. The Saturday tends to be smaller games in Bugmans as it can be hard to get tables if an event is on, and some of us may be a little worse for wear…. (Just to be clear, beers are optional and several of the regulars are teetotal. Playing silly games is the important bit!)

Tables are harder to arrange, but can be booked in advance if we know how many people are definitely coming.  The Fridays are normally pretty easy to grab tables, but Saturday has an AoS event on, so if we don’t have a table we’ll be playing small games in the bar.

When is the next Parent Players?

The fifth Parent Players is on Friday 21 and Saturday 22 June 2019

What do you need?

Well, to play, you’ll need the latest rules and a force for the game. We’re definitely expecting Warhammer 40K, and Bloodbowl to be on the agenda – if you don’t have a force for any game you’d like to play, it’s not too hard to arrange to borrow one from one of the other people attending, but you need to arrange it in advance to ensure it’s there on the day. For 40K, we tend to play fairly fluffy 1750pts lists (though we’re going to use the Chapter Approved rules and turn our warlords into Legendary Heroes). Bloodbowl tends to be standard starter teams of 1,000,000 crowns, and Shadespire is generally standard gang starter decks.

You’ll also need transport to Warhammer World, and somewhere to stay. We generally stay in the Holiday Inn near Warhammer World and several people have already booked rooms. Its certainly not compulsory to stay in the hotel if you want to arrange somewhere else, but we do have some cracking games – this meet up I’m expecting some Munchkin 40K and various editions of Fluxx to be pulled out.

It’s a pretty laid back event – some of us make up our own t-shirts to match our armies with our names and twitter handles, but again, that’s really not necessary.

How do I stay in touch?

We all can be found on twitter. I’m evilkipper and seem to be co-ordinating it at the moment, but the whole thing was the devious concept of thefirstautarch. Other regular attendees include oneoflots, avarrisxbox, grimdarkness40, bigbadbirch and alphadevilinak as well as horde of possible attendees who haven’t been able to escape the kids!

Say hi to any of us, and we’ll keep you in the loop on twitter with all the updates.

Play it Painted?

I was having a discussion on twitter (that immediately got derailed) about what sort of painting projects can be fun, and I suggested painting up board games like Hellboy or Dungeon Saga, as board games stand in isolation.  No one expects the game pieces to be painted so its a nice stress free distraction, but armies for Warhammer 40K?  There’s a definite expectation that armies should be painted or at least will be painted over time, and that can sometime make it feel like work – I have to get this painted or I can’t field it.

Someone bounced into the conversation to say that thats not true.  GW don’t have any such barriers up, if you want to play with unpainted pieces you can, and any pressure is just from a few individuals in the community.  I’m afraid I can’t agree.

Now, I’m not saying that shouldn’t be the case!  I’ll happily play anyone if I think I’ll have a fun game.  But the hobby is definitely based around the concept of playing with painted armies.  Many people will flat out refuse to play unpainted armies.  Some stores won’t allow less than a three colour minimum.  Warhammer World events have a fairly stringent set of requirements that involve no bits from other manufacturers, fully painted, and these events are described as the “pinnacle of the hobby” by Warhammer World – which clearly indicates the aspirational goal for people in the GW community.  On twitter, you’ll regularly see campaigns to “#PlayItPainted”.  There’s a meme stratagem aimed at unpainted models that floats around featuring the face of GW painting, Duncan Rhodes.  Whether or not its right, playing with painted armies is expected in tournaments, in many stores, and by many players and the wider community.  Saying “you can play how you like” doesn’t help if opponents walk away and you can’t take part in events.

If you just want to play at home against a mate, you can do what you like.  If you want to buy into the wider community, you do have to go along with the general community rules, and at the moment, that would seem to be painted armies, or at least working towards that goal.

I rarely play, and paint far more.  I love painting.  But at the moment, things are stacked against those who don’t like painting but love the game, short of throwing money at commission painters.

And is the pressure to be at least moving towards painted minis bad?  Its a far more absorbing experience for me, and anecdotally many others when all the models are clearly identified in glorious colours instead of sprue grey where you can’t identify the weapons or gear easily.

Is there a good answer?  Introduce gaming tournaments where all that matters are results?  Deprecate the painting part of the hobby to make it more about the game?  There isn’t a perfect solution.

All I can do is enjoy painting my minis, and be willing to have a fun game whenever I can, regardless of how painted the opposition is.

Should GW add women to Space Marines?

There has been a lot of argument on Twitter on this topic for a while, so I thought I’d go through what I see as the pros and cons of both sides of the argument.

I say both sides, but this is actually a three sided argument!  There is one argument for introducing female space marines as if they’ve always been there, an argument to keep everything exactly as it is, and a third stance saying “why not kept the history as is, but introduce female space marines as a new option like the Primaris Marines were recently introduced?”

Now, if you look at the models purely as game pieces, it’s just ludicrous to have the primary faction in a game designed in 2019, often included as both sides (with Chaos Marines having the same issue) of the main starter sets being gender exclusive.  Of course, the game was designed in the 1980s, not 2019, and culturally there was a much bigger divide in hobbies than here is today.  2000AD simply introduced lady judges as if they had always been a part of Judge Dredd, and that was successful in a similar cultural icon.  Why couldn’t that work here?  They’ve thrown the history out repeatedly for other changes like dropping Squats and rebuilding the entire Necron history.  Why not here?

Well, one reason is that the background back then specifically excluded the possibility of female space marines, and that takes us into the opposing position – that 30 years of shared fictional history including hundreds of published stories as well as 30 years of rule books and army codexes have given us a shared universe we all enjoy, so why change it?  Why throw out all those books and novels and shared enjoyment when we could simply release more models in other lines and make that there are options for women to play and feel accessible – the new launch of the Sisters of Battle line is often a key part of this counterpoint, as it involves a line of models that are just women.

The intermediate stance is simply that we could look at a compromise position – keep the history as is, but evolve the ongoing storyline.  Introduce women into the ranks of marines as the new discoveries that allowed the creation of the next generation of marines also allow the genetic enhancements to work with both sexes.  It’s an easy, simple fix, and would allow reasonable people on all sides to come together.  If you don’t like them, you could still build male marine chapters, or others could build all women chapters.  

Some point to the satirical background of Warhammer 40K, and highlight the fact that Space Marines aren’t supposed to be aspirational or inclusive.  They are, in fact, pretty much the extreme example of what is often referred to as toxic masculinity- exemplifying intolerance, and violence as a preferred solution.  There’s certainly some truth to this viewpoint, I think, but the parodic  and satirical nature of 40K has been somewhat lost under a more traditional sci-fi overlay over the years – I’m not sure it’s as obvious to people joining the hobby now as it was in the Rogue Trader days.

i think it’s easy as people argue abstract positions to ignore the fact that honestly there are a lot of people in the hobby that are bigoted and would keep women out if they could.  Latching onto excuses like the shared history allow them to avoid appearing prejudiced, but honestly?  Sometimes people are.  It’s very important not to tar everyone with that brush, but it’s also important that the industry leader in the wargaming field do what it can to be available to everyone.

The biggest problem, really, is that the lore and in game history about Space Marines is, in this instance, bloody terrible.  The entire argument basically goes “We can re-engineer men from the basic genetic code up to be immortal Demi-gods of War, but we can’t do the same for women, because they are girls.”

There are so many strong stories one way or another.  Buy fully into the despotic, terrible universe, and cast the Emperor as a utter sexist bastard who wouldn’t sort it out because he felt girls shouldn’t go to war.  Go Jurassic Park, and have life find a way in the early tests on women – and a fully viable immortal replacement species for humanity was exactly what the Emperor wanted to avoid as he wants humanity to thrive, not perish.  Have the move as part of the Emperor’s prescient design as systematically culling the genes for successful  Astartes  leads to the psychically immune blanks rising in replacement and saving all humanity.  Maybe his second wave of design was a set of female primarchs and their Astartes children, and that fell apart because of the Heresy.

But saying “no, we can’t get it working for girls” is shockingly weak story telling at best.  It sounds more impressive if you say “The lore doesn’t allow for them”, but really?

I’ve been playing 40k since it launched.  I enjoy the shared history and background, and would prefer major changes to be in the way the story moves forward than throwing all the history out.  I could cope with the monastic male warrior tradition if the story is fleshed out with something convincing (and better representation continues elsewhere), or women joining the ranks as new Primaris marines too.  But there are three main things I’d really like to see – people on one side of the argument not accusing everyone else of being misogynistic bastards, people on the other side not shouting about SJWs and virtue signalling, and some damn decent story underlying the move forward, whatever route that takes.

EDIT – Just some additional notes.  I mentioned a few reasons that would be much stronger to explain the lack of female space marines from a story telling perspective, but they don’t really work if introduced now (unless you introduce a new faction of some kind to explore it as well as a Black Library series).  Adding a better excuse 30 years later is definitely a cop out – if there was a solid story reason already in place I’d be more inclined to accept the cries of “but the lore”.

I’d also like to quickly address the other argument – that there already exists an all women army in the game with Sisters of Battle, so its all fair.  I have some sympathy with this view point, mostly because I love Sisters of Battle and am very excited for the new release, and I’d love for the sheer scope of the Sisters to be raised to the same profile as Space Marines.  However, arguing its all fair because there are some female factions is a bit specious.  Why?  Because first, the Sisters of Battle aren’t an all woman faction at all.  You can field male priests (that outrank the sisters), male crusaders, male arco-flagellants, male penitent engines in the same list.  It’d be like having the option in the marine list to field women representatives of the High Council that all marines have to answer to, having dreadnaughts not containing marine heroes but male or female guard heroes, and turning the victrix guard into cool lady knights guarding the top bods.  Now, that actually sounds pretty awesome, to be fair, but it isn’t the case.

In addition, while Space Marines are the flagship force, with Blood Angels, Dark Angels, Space Wolves, General Marines, Chaos Marines, Thousand Sons and Death Guard all representing with their own lists, there have been long periods of time with no Sisters of Battle Codex at all, no minis in the shops, only 20 year old + sculpts available online at incredibly high prices (£50 a basic squad as compared to £20.50 for a metal guard squad, for example).  Its not exactly two high profile, easily available forces with Sisters and Marines jostling for place in the starter sets.

What of Sisters of Silence, introduced at the same time as Custodes?  We still have almost no Sisters of Silence available, and a pretty big old range of Custodes introduced already.  Again, its not really a great argument to point to a token box and say, look, it must be OK, there are a few ladies in a different list.

While Space Marines are the primary force sold in the game, with no solid reason not to add women to their ranks given the recent introduction of changes with Primaris Marines, we’ll hear continuing calls to make the entry armies more accessible to everyone, and I think rightly so.

Sisters of Battle – Finishing an Era

Well, with two Sisters of Battle armies, and the ranges due for an update, it’s time to finish off the armies for good before starting anew.

Order of the Argent Shroud

I need to paint up:

2 Geminae to guard Celestine for the Order of the Argent Shroud.   I have some Seraphim, but they need to be converted with power swords and bolt pistols.

An Immolator – this needs to be bought, assembled and painted.

An Exorcist – this needs to be bought, assembled and painted.

3 Rhinos – these need to be bought, assembled and painted (or resprayed from previous projects)

Order of the Verdant Garden

2 Geminae to guard Celestine for the Order of the Verdant Garden.   I have some Seraphim, but they need to be converted with power swords and bolt pistols.

1 Canoness – I’d messed up one of the 2 metal canonesses, and its been stripped for repainting.

1 Seraphim – I lost one of my 10 woman squad some time ago, and need to replace her.

3 Repentia – I’ve generally been fielding them in a squad of 6, and never finished the last 3.  I need to finish these off.

1 Meltagun sister – I need this to finish off my white battle sisters squad.

1 Exorcist – I have a silver FW exorcist that I want to repaint for the green sisters, and replace it with a GW exorcist for the more classic Argent Shroud contingent.

1 Sisters Rhino – I have 2 rhinos and 2 immolators, but the last battle sisters squad could do with a transport. 

2 Immolator turret fixes – the two immolators I have were broken in an accident and sort of patched in the turrets.  With the Rhinos needed for the sisters, buying Immolators and using the turrets to fix these and then being able to use the rhinos with sisters icons rather than plain seems to make sense.  This is a bonus extra, though – the patch job isn’t terrible.

Bonus extras

With the range as a whole likely to be taken off the market, it’d be nice to add one or two of the missing models as well.  I think they’d be fantastic with Rogue Trader or Inquistorial warbands too.

Death Cult Assassins – at least 2, maybe a unit of 6

Crusaders – at least 2, maybe a unit of 6

Preacher with Chainsword

Missionary with Chainsword

Penitent Engines – at least 1, maybe a unit of 3.

As a final bonus extra, I could paint up a Canoness Veridyan in Silver and Green to add to each force.  I don’t need to, but I have the models and it’d be a nice touch.

Preparing for the Future

I need to paint up the new Celestine and Geminae for the new army, and Canoness Veridyan

Hobby Plans for 2019

Well, as we’re two weeks into 2019, I suppose I really should start doing some kind of planning!

First, I really want to track my work, as though I lost track towards the end of 2018, logging my painting made a big difference in getting things done.  I’m going to take part in #painthammer2019 – you can find loads of details over on JewelKnightJess‘s blog Silent Dream.

Second, as a rough target for the year, I’m going to aim for 100 painted minis.  I think thats achievable, and should keep me pushing and painting hard enough to get it done.

Third, I want to “finish off” my Sisters of Battle armies, which are coming up for a major relaunch.  I have two armies, one in green (the Order of the Verdant Garden) and one in silver (the Order of the Argent Shroud).  Both need some reworking for the 8th edition beta codex, and both need some key models painted for a “complete” force of around 2000pts.  Things like a couple of Gemina Superior to protect Celestine, finish off any odd or missing people from complete units, do extra Rhinos for the various squads, add an Exorcist to the Silver Sisters, and so on.  It’s not trivial amounts, but not impossible amounts either.

Fourth, I want to start a new Sisters of Battle army in the traditional Black and Red when the new army is released in plastic.  I can make a start on this with Celestine and the Geminae from the Triumvirate set, and a Canoness Veridyan.  Fingers are crossed for an all plastic exorcist and a Sisters flyer of some kind.

Fifth, I want to try and keep on top of Warhammer Conquest.  I’ve done a rubbish job so far, and its rather starting to build up, especially as I’ve built my Dark Imperium set alongside it and picked up a few extra copies of some of the issues, as well as kitbashed some primaris, and added a chaplain and a box each of intercessors, reivers and plague marines to the mix too.

Sixth, 2019 is going to be the year of the terrain for me!  With RubbleCity and a Suluco (think space hulk tiles in Resin) due from Fenris Games this year, and with terrain coming in from Warhammer Conquest and from my Shadow War and Kill Team starter sets, plus a _lot_ of old Sector Imperialis buildings that need gluing back together after a move, I should have enough terrain to run my own club!

Seventh, I want to paint up one or two Blood Bowl teams, like the new Dark Elves and my cracking Iron Golems set of Halflings.

Eighth, I want to cherry pick the odd fantasy mini to paint for fun, so I don’t get stuck grinding on tasks for the hell of it, so I’m staying subscribed to my monthly bones pack.  I won’t get them all painted, but it’ll be fun.

Ninth, and this is unlikely, but I would like to also pick one of my board games like Zombicide, Dungeon Saga, Imperial Assault, Blackstone Fortress or Star Saga, and get at least the basic starter minis (or alternatives done).  Completing all the minis I have for one game would just be amazing.

Tenth, I want to make it to at least 2 Parent Players events this year, as they are just mind-blowing fun.

Eleventh, I’m in a Blood Bowl league online!  Hopefully it’ll be really fun, and I can make time for it!  Some cracking people in the league.

There are many more possibilities and projects on hold if I blow through these like some kind of hobby demon, but it’s pretty unlikely.  Time just isn’t going to permit it, I think.

Model Releases, Rules and Limitations for GW with 8th Ed

This is a response to a common question, particularly from veterans of early editions:

“Why don’t we have XYZ option in the rules right now?”

Examples of this include Blood Angel Primaris having Chainswords as an option, while normal marines or dark angels don’t, for example.  Why aren’t the rules the same for the basic units?

Now, I’m not a lawyer at all, but in my understanding it comes down to a legal decision in the states when a more litigious GW went into conflict with Chapterhouse Studios a few years ago over some of the additional models and conversion packs they were producing.  The decisions were pretty mixed, and no one came away happy, but one point did come out:

If you have rules in a game and don’t actively sell the parts or models for those rules, it is legitimate in the US for third parties to produce their own version.

So if they released rules for all Intercessor Sergeants to have chainswords, and only had chainswords for Blood Angels in the Blood Angels Primaris upgrade packs, it might be legal (I’m staying well clear of morality here) for another company to actively produce and market chainswords for the other chapters.  It might even be OK to produce Primaris Sergeants with Chainswords.  And if that happened before GW released them, there are all sorts of issues.

Essentially, it means that GW are in a position where they literally cannot provide rules for conversions unless they also produce the models without opening the door to alternative manufacturers in the US.  That’s just the way it is.  It’s one of the main reasons that the current codexes have entries exactly matching the single weapon load outs of the manufactured models.

Its also why they release new data sheets with new models, rather than putting all the rules in a new codex months before models arrive, and why we don’t see any named characters without a specific matching model.

Its also why a token selection of Sisters of Battle have been kept up on the site in metal for years – if they don’t have them on sale at all, others could potentially actively start to sell and market Adeptus Sororitas minis.  Actually as Sisters of Battle.

At most, you can complain a little as to why a specific load out hasn’t been chosen and released yet, but differences between ranges and codexes have to match the produced models.  It’s just the legalities of the marketplace. 

One interesting note on this – by providing the legends rules for AoS and one last made to order sale of the classic model before closing down the moulds, they may be opening up the production of some of the classic characters to third parties for those wanting to play narrative games at home too.  It’s a brave move with valuable classic IP, and fantastic for the community, so kudos!